I finally left Buzludzha after spending most of the afternoon wandering around and chatting with a Belgium biker doing a similar thing. The gravel track didn’t seem to be so long on the way down and I was soon back on to the main road to complete the remainder of the Shipka Pass. Cruising around the curves admiring the views it’s amazing how quickly the temperature reaches 35°, and how much more draining it seems to be.
I arrived at Motocamp in the village of Idilevo some time in the late afternoon. I was almost a week ahead of schedule but had no problem getting a room. All the rooms are named after manufacturers, so of course I was put in the BMW room.
Motocamp, run by Ivo and Polly, is well known in the travellers community. It is ideally placed in northern Bulgaria at the foot of the Balkan mountains. There is a small expat community in the village and many of them first experienced the area whilst visiting Motocamp. It’s not like other camps, you help yourself to beer from the well stocked fridge, mark it in the book and pay when you leave; a well equippped workshop is available to fix any breakdowns and you are free to just relax or take advantage of the excellent local knowledge of the area.
I decided to stay two nights and spent the second day updating my website and doing washing. It’s very quiet and relaxing at Motocamp but there is usually something going on whether it’s expats from the village stopping by for a beer and a chat or travellers turning up looking for a bed for the night. Tonight just as it was getting dark, Melina and David from Switzerland arrived providing to perfect excuse to have another beer.
The next morning David was trying to fix an intermittent fault on his Africa Twin. He’d had electrical problems, battery sometimes not charging, bike refusing to start. It wasn’t long before there was a small crowd all trying to offer advice. Meanwhile, Melina appeared from the camp shop after buying a copy of Graham Fields book “In Search of Greener Grass”. Seeing this Ivo asked “Would you like me to phone Graham and ask him to sign it?”. Unbeknownst to Melina, he only lived around the corner.
And that’s who we all ended up stood round a broken Africa Twin with international travel author Graham Fields. David stripped all the luggage of his bike, removed the side panels, seat and battery cover and we poked and prodded to try and determine the cause. As if by magic, it worked, bike started and ran and sounded great. So he replaced the battery cover, attached the side panels and seat. Then loaded his luggage back on and strapped it all down, sat on the bike and pushed the starter… it was dead! So he took everything off again and we had another prod and poke. This happened several times, bike was fine when dismantled, would not work when back together.
I like to think it was my suggestion that the seat was somehow the problem; pinching a wire somewhere or putting pressure on some electrical component causing a short that actually led Graham to find the problem. He discovered that the negative terminal on the battery was loose and cable was flopping around making intermittent contact with the battery post. It was tightened and for about the seventh time David replaced the battery cover, replaced the side panels and seat and attached his luggage. It worked!